Monday, 29 July 2013

Zone: Second Life as Surreal Visitation

Much of Second Life has been abandon, leaving a scattered cluster of personal projects.  More and more Second Life reminds of my second favourite Science Fiction novel Roadside Picnic (Russian: Пикник на обочине, Arkady and Boris Strugatsky.

From the Russian movie Stalker based on Roadside Picnic, think of this next time you wonder SL

Roadside Picnic tells the story of a Zone left by an alien race that has shortly visited Earth, for some reason leaving a few items that remain in isolated Zones.  Stalkers explore the Zone looking for items that might be of value to scientists, a black market in Zone develops.  But as many of the items in the Zone will kill you and as governments have secured the Zone the work is dangerous and negatively impacts the Stalkers.  Still the promise of surreal items draws some explorer to risk their lives to enter the Zone.  For me this expresses more and  more what Second Life is evolving into.  Most SIMs are now empty but there is a scattered surreal world left behind, objects that meant something to someone but are now strange, without context or community they are objects of pure imagination.

There are a number of strange and wonderful things in SL that seem just left there, with out much reference to their context and usually with no one around.

The novel Roadside Picnic pictures such an environment, a space of other people dreams and technology that can never really make sense to you.

Second Life landscape is becoming stranger and stranger in many locations, abandon projects and half used dreams left in a surrealist flat space right out of surrealist movie.

Things just seem randomly placed all over SL, without reference to history or culture.

Second Life

Illustration of Road Site Picnic

Second Life is the space of cars left to run forever going to nowhere, of forests cut by lines and towers for no obvious purpose surrounded by empty land and sea.  It is this strange forgotten landscape which is the most interesting part of the Second Life experience. 

Scene from Stalker, movie based on Roadside Picnic, does this look like SL today or what?

You could film Roadside Picnic here
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